As with most federal labor laws, employers cannot retaliate against employees who complain about wage payment violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. What happens, however, when a prospective employee claims that they were not hired as a result of raising questions over another employer’s pay practices? According to a recent decision from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provisions do not apply to claims from prospective employees.
In Liscomb v. Boyce, a former sheriff’s department employee filed suit alleging that a county prosecutor failed to hire him for a drug task force job because he had filed a suit for unpaid overtime against his former employer. The district court dismissed the claim, concluding that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation ban only applies against the plaintiff’s actual employer.
On appeal, the Eighth Circuit agreed, affirming dismissal of the claims. The court reviewed the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision, concluding that its plain language limited the scope of this prohibition to claims brought by employees against their employers. The Eighth Circuit noted that the purpose of the FLSA was to provide employees with legal recourse against companies that employ them, and not the broader remedial measures sought by the plaintiff in this case.